Dinosaurs vs Mammals: Swings and Roundabouts

Throughout most of the history of life on the planet Dinosaurs or Mammals or their close relatives have ruled the world.

However one thing I have noticed is that they not only take it in turns to dominate the earth but also in being the other ones bitch for want of a better term.

Allow me to explain.

Hundreds of millions of years ago before the age of the Dinosaurs large reptiles called the Synapsids ruled the earth. These reptiles were not as large as the later Dinosaurs but they still grew to massive sizes and included such famous killers as the Gorgonopsid and Dimetrodon.

The monsters who came before the Dinosaurs!

The Synapsids were wiped out during a mass extinction event at the start of the Triassic period. This mass extinction allowed the Dinosaurs to emerge as the dominant life form. The Dinosaurs evolved from a group of reptiles called Archosaurs. The Archosaurs also gave rise to the flying reptiles the Pterosaurs and the Crocodilians too. During the Permian era the Archosaurs were small reptiles who would have been the prey of large Synapsids.

However after the Permian/Triassic mass extinction event (which was greater than the one that later killed the Dinosaurs) one group of Archosaurs, the Dinosaurs were able to diversify and become the dominant life form on earth for the next 150 million years.

One group of Synapsids, small reptiles called the Cynodonts survived the Permian/Triassic mass extinction that killed the rest of their kind and evolved into the first mammals, small tiny, shrew and mice like creatures.

Over the course of the next 150 million years the Mammals would only get as big as a house cat. They were now the prey of the giant Dinosaurs who stalked the land.

Thus it was the complete reverse of the Permian era. In the Permian we had giant Synapsid carnivores running around whilst tiny ancestors of the Dinosaurs were their prey.

Now in the time of the Dinosaurs we had the tiny descendants of the Synapsids the mammals running around getting eaten by giant predatory dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex as snacks.

Who’s kicking who around now!

Of course as well all know 65 million years ago the Dinosaurs would be killed off by another mass extinction event when a massive asteroid smashed into the earth, killing 65 percent of life on the planet.

With the giant Dinosaurs gone mammals as we know spread out and became the dominant life forms on earth.

Through their descendants the Mammals, the Synapsids once again came to dominate the earth.

One small group of Dinosaurs meanwhile did survive the extinction that killed the rest of their kind. The Birds.

Birds evolved from small meat eating Dinosaurs, specifically the Maniraptoria. Though it was disputed for many years it is now universally almost agreed that Birds are not only descended from Dinosaurs but that they are classed as a sub group of them.

So once again we have the Synapsids (mammals) ruling whilst the Archosaurs (birds) are the small creatures that they prey on.

It seems the tables have turned once again!

Its ironic when you think next time you are chowing down on a chicken or a turkey leg that 65 million years ago his ancestor would have been chowing down on your ancestor.

It just goes to show that you should never ever assume just because you’re riding high right now that it will last. Never assume that quiet unassuming guy like that little mouse or pigeon in the corner doesn’t have big, big ambitions.

Who knows maybe there will come a time when the Dinosaurs rule the earth once again.

Who knows maybe there will come another natural disaster that kills off all the major mammal species including us and the birds grow to massive sizes. It happened before. After the Dinosaurs died out some birds grew to massive sizes such as Phorusrachus in places like South America and they were the dominant predators for many millions of years after.

Thus perhaps if there is another extinction event the birds could very well grow to large sizes once again. All the large mammals will be doomed in another extinction event. Generally speaking the biggest animals go first in a mass extinction event naturally as its harder for them to find food.

Thus the only mammals likely to survive after the next extinction event are small rodents. Therefore depending o the circumstances we could very well see giant Birds (dinosaurs) chasing small mammals yet again. Well we won’t see it but you know what I mean.

“That’s for KFC”

Hopefully this won’t happen but again it just goes to show you how the history of life on earth is just swings and roundabouts in regards to Dinosaurs and Mammals making the other one their bitch.

Just waiting for the tables to turn again?

 

 

 

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